When we begin our journey down the abyss of self-development, looking for ways to change ourselves as well as gain a deeper meaning to our existence, we turn to books, meditation programs, training sessions, gurus as well as the media for guidance.
Our world opens up to people who are ready to give advice. Some are genuine and spread knowledge that they’ve gained from their own experiences, while others give advice from what they “think” to be true.
With our limited capabilities we decide to follow what seems right and if we’re lucky we study genuine teachings or at times may end up with teachings that are outright misleading or teachings that have lost the power due to the teachers’ misinterpretations.
However, there comes a point when one outgrows a practice, things seem stagnant and nothing lives up to our expectations. Here are 6 signs you need a break from working on your spiritual self ~
You seek perfection
We form assumptions and expectations based on what we read. We would like things to unfold a certain way, and when reality doesn’t fit our expectations, suffering arises.
No we’re not talking about romantic relationships, its about how suffering arises in general and how the same can happen to seekers.
For example, a seeker could have been misinformed that his Kundalini energy needs to rise or else he won’t awaken. He or she will try their level best to reach this state, without realising that their awakening might not be linked to where they’re placed energetically.
Never get stuck in a perspective or beliefs that things should happen only in a specific way. The key is to have a mind willing to accept different outcomes for every situation.
You push doubt aside
Don’t push your doubts away. Welcome them and anything that challenges your conditioning. Discuss your doubts with your teachers or peers. Contemplating and discussing doubts can either lead to a new perspective or realisation that the doubt is invalid, in both the situations you are level up.
Imagine a staunchly religious person who is so hooked to his dogma, that he vehemently supports his point of view. Only if doubt arises within him will he gain the potential to open his eyes.
Similarly, be open to your doubts, it may open a new world of realisations. The only thing one should be afraid is to be stuck in a limiting belief system.
You want too much, too soon
More often than not, awakening is a gradual process. Awakening may be faster for people who surrender when they experience extreme suffering, but in general it takes a while.
Some say, “there is no time” and that too is true for the formless/deathless part of us, but for the dimension we live in and experience, time is an inseparable part. One may lose patience and expect faster results, if that is the case, change focus.
Take for example, someone who has the tendency to get angry quickly, they might work on taming their anger. But when they do not manage to lessen their anger over
an expected period of time not only do they suffer because of their expectations but the impatience becomes an obstacle on the path of the quest as well.
You seek too much information
I log into facebook to find my feed flooded with posts revolving around how I can change my life. There is too much information hovering about on social media about changing yourself and its highly possible that you may feel overwhelmed with the number of articles you read or the things you assume you have to do to reach a higher state of consciousness.
Stop the information overload, like Sai Baba said, “You seek too much information and not enough transformation.”
Focus on any particular teaching you would like to implement and start working on that, at first it will be tough but with practice this one teaching will get ingrained into your subconscious and will become part of you. This is when you can move on to implementing something else.
Reading a couple of articles a day will help you to find out what needs to be worked on and when that is done spend your time converting the knowledge into wisdom, implement rather than trying to quench the unending thirst for knowledge.
Are you really a seeker?
Eckhart Tolle explains the difference between a function and a role. For example if one is a doctor, his function is to treat people when he is doing his job, but if he lets his status get to his head he takes up that identification and his ego takes over.
Even if he is having a conversation with another person, he will feel superior or inferior depending on the other person’s profession. Similarly we identify with looks, the amount of money we make, our past successes or failures etc.
The game of comparison is always playing in our heads which either leads to gratification or sorrow. It’s a similar scenario with seekers, when spirituality becomes part of your ego.
We make mental images of ourselves either inferior or superior in comparison to other seekers, non-seekers, followers of other teachings etc. This is one trap we need to avoid to let go of the mental burden.
You’re too hard on yourself
“The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgement.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti.
Don’t make your spiritual quest a burden, observing and being aware of your own dysfunctional patterns itself is an awakening. You can make any kind of changes in your lifestyle but never forget to focus on the timeless part of you.
All spiritual knowledge and practices point to that reality. But don’t let your knowledge become a hindrance to your spiritual growth. You can always chose to take a break from specific practices that don’t resonate with you at that moment and open yourself to ones that stir your soul.
Buddha compared his teachings to a raft that is used to cross a river. Once you cross the river, would you still hold on to the raft? Similarly teachings and perspectives have an expiry date. Your true essence is not a perspective and you will realise that when you stop playing the role of a spiritual seeker and simply be.